West indian countries

The Russian-Ukrainian war puts countries between a rock and a hard place, including India

While the Russian-Ukrainian war is changing the face of Europe, it has placed many other countries, including India, between a rock and a hard place.

Held between its biggest trading partner, the United States, and biggest military supplier, Russia, experts say countries like India have no choice but to wait for the world to return to normal. ‘order.

After the end of the Cold War, India had enjoyed global stability and strong ties with Moscow and Washington.

According to official data from India, trade between India and the United States stood at $112.626 billion last year, with $71.203 billion in exports and $41.423 billion in imports, while a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that 23% of Russia’s arms exports between 2016 and 2020 went to India.

India’s bilateral trade in the fiscal year April 2020 to March 2021 with Russia stood at just $8.1 billion, but official figures suggest military trade since 2018 has touched nearly of $15 billion.

Military trade is expected to increase further as several other projects are under discussion and many have been implemented.

In addition to the purchase of a $5.5 billion S-400 Triumf missile defense system from Russia, there is long-term cooperation on the licensed production of the Su-30MKI for the military. Indian Air Force (IAF). The production of T-90, T-72M1 tanks for ground forces and BrahMos cruise missiles is underway at different factories in India. Russian AK-203 rifle manufacturers plan to establish a unit in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of a meeting in Dubai – one of the seven sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) known for its luxury boutiques and state-of-the-art architecture – the Air Vice Marshal at the retired Kapil Kak said that Russia was militarily very important for India.

– Diversify military equipment

“To date, we are talking about almost 70% of India’s military equipment is of Russian origin, India can be militarily starved in 24 hours. Over the past two decades, India has diversified its sources of military hardware, starting with Israel, France and the United States. But Russia still has a large share,” he said.

A major concern in India’s strategic corridors is that the war has brought convergences between Russia and China at a time when the Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff for the past 20 months.

However, Kak thinks the bonhomie between Russia and China may not last long as they harbor deep ideological divisions.

“They have historical cracks. They fought a war in 1969 when both were nuclear (powers). Russia was to field 40 divisions on this front line. Temporarily you can see deep convergence between them, but they are potential competitors in the international system,” he said.

The former IAF deputy chief pointed out that while New Delhi has become a strategic partner of the United States since the signing of the nuclear pact in 2007, there is a difference between an ally and a partner. He said that traditionally and culturally, India has sought partners but has not been part of any alliance.

Kak said the Ukraine crisis has brought changes in the world order to the fore.

China has already challenged American supremacy and Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to reassert his country’s position in the global system, although Kak believes he will not be able to do so due to the country’s weak economy. .

Author and global strategy expert Halford Mackinder wrote in the early 20th century that whoever controls Eurasia – that giant landmass that stretches from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the shores of Asia-Pacific – will dominate the world.

– Consequent changes in the world order

Shiv Shankar Menon, India’s former national security adviser, said no country will be able to ignore the consequential changes in the world order brought about by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

“More European pressure on Russia will consolidate Russia-China ties and it will change the situation in Asia,” he noted.

He said comforting Russia and China might not have an immediate effect as Moscow is New Delhi’s tried and tested partner, but in the long run it could have strategic implications in the face of Beijing’s hostility towards India.

Menon, also India’s former foreign minister when Russia fought a war in Georgia in 2008, said Russia and Ukraine as well as Europe should take care of India’s security and strategic interests. the other.

“The eastern borders of Ukraine are 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Moscow. Having NATO troops 300 km from Moscow changes Russia’s security calculus. In other words, Russian troops in Ukraine means that they are within striking distance of Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna and many other European capitals,” he explained.

He believes that a neutral Ukraine with security guarantees could be ideal for maintaining regional peace and stability.

“It’s not just Putin; all Russian leaders suspected NATO. At the end of the Cold War, there were 19 members of NATO, today there are 30. And NATO was brought to the borders of Russia. These are hard interests for Russian security. There are also interests on the other side. Both interests must be taken into account and adjusted,” he added.

The former national security adviser also said the world is in an uncertain and anarchic situation, although the United States continues to be a global military power and China competes with it economically.

“We are a world adrift. We are not in a multi or bipolar order. If we don’t regain order, we will see a lot more conflict and instability,” he added.

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